I recently came across this quote from the book, The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell, on The Happiness Project blog:
“A desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being,
whose mind is not debauched, will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge.”
Samuel Johnson was an English author who lived in the 1700’s. One of his greatest contributions was writing the The Dictionary of the English Language, touted as “one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship.” It took Mr. Johnson nine years to complete this great work which stood as the preeminent dictionary for 150 years until the Oxford English Dictionary was published. He has also written several essays and books on wide and various subjects such as Shakespeare, world travels and poetry. It is obvious to me, that Mr. Johnson was an avid and lifelong learner, devoting much time and effort to obtain and share knowledge.
Certainly, the world wide web has opened up a plethora of means to obtain knowledge. Simply entering a topic on Google can begin a journey of information that will take you in a myriad of directions. But sometimes, I prefer learning the old fashioned way: going to my neighborhood library. When was the last time you actually used the many tools your library has to offer? I’m not talking about checking out a book or taking a little person to story time. I mean really utilizing the tons of resources available at your local library.
Today’s community library is not the library of our past. You will not find card catalogs or a stark room offering only bland shelves of books and magazines. Rather, it has evolved in to a modern medium for promoting many methods of acquiring knowledge. My city has two libraries offering everything from the traditional library fare to tons of family programs for all ages, book clubs, books on CD, a technology center, an adult literacy program, and even passport services. You can check out a book on-line and pick it up at your convenience–all without once disturbing a library technician. One service I have found extremely useful is obtaining an inter-library loan. I really wanted to read a particular book that I had heard about when I was visiting my daughter out-of state. Unfortunately, the book was only being carried by university libraries at the time. I didn’t want to wait for months for it to come to my local library branch so I inquired what I could to do to get it sooner. The librarian was more than helpful in locating the exact title at a university 30 miles away and setting up the paperwork to have the book delivered to my home library. In a matter of a few days, I soon had my eagerly awaited book in my own hands. I’ve used this service twice now. It is perfect for anyone who is an impatient reader like myself.
Knowledge is the key to a rich life. Give in to that natural feeling we all posses and obtain new knowledge daily. Take a class. Talk to an expert. Read a book. Watch a show. Search the web. Feed your mind.